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What Are My Rights as a Passenger Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be wondering about your legal options. Though the driver of the motorcycle may carry insurance for passengers, it may not be enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. Most people understand their rights as a driver, but if you were a passenger during a motorcycle accident, you may be unsure of your rights and should consider speaking with a qualified Kansas City motorcycle accident attorney.
In most vehicle crash investigations, one of the first things a proper investigator determines is who is at fault for the accident. In general, it’s much easier to pursue a personal injury claim as a passenger since they are rarely at fault. Unless you were doing something to deliberately compromise the vehicle, you may be able to pursue a claim against one of several parties, including:
- The driver of the motorcycle, if he or she drove recklessly.
- The driver of the other vehicle, if there was one.
- The manufacturer of the motorcycle, in the case of product defect or malfunction.
In each of these scenarios, who is at fault matters to the case. Consider each circumstance:
When the Driver Is at Fault
If the motorcycle accident involved only one vehicle, there are one of two parties at fault: the operator of the vehicle or its manufacturer. To win a suit involving one vehicle, the plaintiff (injured person) must prove a few things:
- That someone was negligent. For example, if the driver of the motorcycle was speeding and wiped out, he or she might be negligent.
- Negligence directly led to your injuries.
- Your injuries caused significant damages. Examples of damages include the cost of medical bills and lost wages, as well as intangible costs like pain and suffering.
Your suit will directly depend on the nature of the accidents. Wipeouts are a common source of injury, and the driver may be at fault, but, in some instances, both the passenger and the driver may be able to pursue a claim against the motorcycle’s manufacturer, distributor, or retailer.
When There Are Multiple Vehicles Involved
If you’re a passenger on the motorcycle and are involved in an accident with multiple parties, you may be able to file multiple claims: one against the driver of the motorcycle and one against the driver of the other vehicle. More often than not, drivers in car accidents each share a portion of fault in a crash, even if one is more at fault than another. For example, one driver may have swerved into another lane or cut a motorcycle off, but the motorcyclist may have also been speeding. When this happens, the law calls it shared fault.
In some cases, the negligent driver may flee the scene. If this occurs, your best chance of recourse would be to file an uninsured/underinsured claim with the driver’s insurance policy.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident in Kansas City, MO
Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious and debilitating injuries. While most attorneys will recommend gathering evidence to help your case, being bed-ridden makes this process difficult. An experienced Kansas City injury attorney may offer to gather the evidence for you, but the following steps are recommended:
- Don’t sign any paperwork unless it’s been reviewed by your attorney. An insurance company may approach you with a settlement, but these are often low and require negotiation to ensure fair compensation for your injuries.
- Don’t admit fault. Though passengers are rarely at fault for accidents, something as simple as an apology can be tantamount to admitting fault. To protect your case, don’t offer any specifics about the accident or answer questions without your attorney present.
Get Help When You Need It
As a passenger of a motorcycle accident, your injuries can be just as devastating as the driver’s, and, in most cases, passengers are the most innocent of all parties in a motorcycle accident claim. Discuss your options with an experienced attorney as soon after the accident as possible.